A couple summers ago, my friend interned for The Roula & Ryan Show in Houston. As radio hosts at a typical Clear Channel pop station, they were actually a notch above the usual. But just weeks after being named “the Ultimate radio team” by Houston Chronicle readers, they were fired, because apparently that’s what happens at Clear Channel, my friend told me. To freshen things up, radio DJs—-even at the height of their popularity—-are forced out, she said. (After their unceremonious discharge, there was an online petition, signed by approximately 1250 people, calling for their rehiring. The team eventually got back on air at another Houston station, 104.1 KRBE.)
I was reminded of all of this earlier today, listening to Elliot In The Morning on DC 101. Around 9:15 a.m., Elliot started ranting about a letter sent to his office from Clear Channel, touting the corporate radio behemoth’s third-quarter earnings. Clear Channel made $1.7 billion during the last quarter, ending on September 30. Of that, Elliot said, upwards of $580 million were pure profit. In its letter, according to Elliot, Clear Channel praised its great employees for making it happen at the local level. Of course, because it’s Clear Channel, it’s no surprise that this fabulous news comes at a time when people in the office are being asked to take pay cuts. “Why would you send that out?” Elliot kept asking. “They will nickel and dime people to death here.” Awkward silences from co-host Diane followed. The whole thing lasted about ten minutes, certainly time enough for Big Brother at Clear Channel to notice.